Members of the Biden transition team recommend giving the head of the General Services Administration the role of Chief Operating Officer of the country. Ann Dunkin, former Chief Information Officer at the Environmental Protection Agency, and Greg Godbout, former Chief Technology Officer at the Environmental Protection Agency, joined “Government Matters” to discuss their recommendations for the future of IT implementation in government.
Dunkin and Godbout wrote a letter recommending four key changes for information technology. In addition to the creation of a Chief Operating Officer role for the GSA administrator, they recommend inspiring the innovation workforce, guiding agency leaders with the Agency Transformation Playbook and ensuring continuity by creating a Transformation Advisory Board.
“Greg and I both realized … that we’ve seen a lot of innovation in the government, we’ve seen a lot of great things happen, but what we haven’t seen is innovation scale across entire agencies or across the entire government … We’re continuing to see the things that we created the digital services movement to end, which are failed projects and really slow delivery,” Dunkin said.
Godbout said the General Services Administration was a natural choice for implementing IT modernization across government because of its dedication to delivery and implementation. He said he and Dunkin also thought the agency would encourage early adopters of new technology.
Delineating roles between the U.S. Digital Service and Technology Transformation Services was a challenge in the Obama Administration. Godbout said he envisioned the U.S. Digital Service covering presidential priorities and intervention engagements, and TTS covering transformation implementation.
To keep transformation going after a presidential term has ended, Dunkin and Godbout recommended an advisory board. Godbout said he hopes the Transformation Advisory Board will encourage leaders to look outside of just their own political parties for innovative ideas.
“The idea for the Transformation Advisory Board is to have a group of senior leaders who will span administrations … There’s no guarantee that, from administration to administration, work will continue. Just like the defense board, this board would be an opportunity to really make sure that you have people who aren’t terming out when the president leaves who are very senior positions who can help guide innovation throughout the organization,” Dunkin said.